1. Happy Victory Monday, y'all! As is my custom on this specific brand of Victory Monday, I would just like to speak directly to all of the Philadelphia Eagles fans I shared FedEx Field with for this game. Thanks for making the trip! I am especially pleased that you were able to witness that event in person! It is a shame that such a small percentage of you ruins it for the lot of you, but as usual, that contingent of disasters wearing green jerseys showed up. There is nobody else I would rather see experience the pain of driving home from FedEx Field after a gut-wrenching loss than those Philly fans who annually exhibit the least amount of class, sportsmanship and character out of any fanbase. (I have had to make that drive home repeatedly, so I am happy to hand that off to them once a year.)
2. Listening to Kirk Cousins' postgame presser, he really came off as someone who was announcing his own arrival. We got the, "This is what is possible when you work hard for three years, and you learn from failure and you stay positive in the face of adversity." I liked it a lot...especially from a guy wearing a burgundy blazer. I worry he has been holding onto that postgame speech for some time and I am glad he was able to use it so early in the season. His failures last year were, uhhhhh...significant. So much so that plenty of people were willing to write him off as even a guy you could play for a year while you wait for the next guy. I don't think the average football fan has as much confidence in Kirk Cousins right now as he has in himself, but that is just fine. Nobody is mistaking him or his bravado for John Beck. When you stand on your own 10-yard line with a little over six minutes to go in the game, down by four points and staring at 1-3 in the face, whatever happens next is defining. In the case of Kirk Cousins, what is currently defining him is a game-winning, clock-eating, cajone-filled series of plays that delivered the kind of victory we have not seen in these parts for quite some time. The postgame comments from Kirk were just fine by me, as if that even matters, but in my opinion, the biggest statement he made came on the field. Bottom line: we just added to the growing stack of evidence that we have a quarterback on our hands.
3. I heard "RG3" chants in the stands and I just don't get it. To me, this is an idiotic thing for Redskins fan to chant. When a person shouts for Robert Griffin III from the stands in the middle of a pretty tight divisional game that has not exactly been full of miscues from the starter, it comes off as...not smart. First, there is the obvious: Griffin continues to be inactive. He is not even an option for us. I have taken heat for calling the time of death on his time here as a Redskin, but it has nothing to do with how I feel about RG3. I freakin' love that guy. We shared time, Bode-style. I take ZERO pleasure in Griffin's plight these days, but there is simply no way we can justify putting him on the field, and it has everything to do with the future of this roster. If it is true that the organization has already moved past Griffin--and I believe it is--than putting him on the field is a worse gamble than betting on SkinsNJ in a game of Beirut against me (it comes from a place of love, SkinsNJ). If Griffin got hurt, which is statistically certain, the Redskins would be on the hook for $16 million in 2016. As I said before we exercised the option, if the team wanted to gamble on Griffin, it would have been far better off risking the roughly $3 million extra dollars (above the $16 million) that it would have taken to franchise him on the outside chance he turned into a franchise guy. The end result would have still been the same--a long-term deal between RG3 and the team. As it stands, we can't risk $16 million of cap space when we can see all the places that will require those resources next season. That kind of dough nets you starters at multiple positions. I don't see this as picking a possible future cornerback or linebacker over RG3. I guess my point is that RG3 is not even a choice right now, and as such, not someone we should be chanting for--pointless chants are for Philly fans.
4. Giving McLovin those resources to build up other areas of our roster feels better and better every week. His draft picks are turning into pretty solid cases for McLovin's solid draft prowess. Yesterday, we all saw how Jamison Crowder and Kyshoen Jarrett impacted the game. Matt Jones' impact was felt less yesterday than in previous games, but Brandon Scherff played well (in my humble opinion) and Presssssss-TONE (#94) looked like he is coming along VERY nicely. His free agent haul is proving to be impressive, especially along the defensive line. Chris Culliver looks hurt, but he is certainly a talent. The only chance this team has to morph into a genuine contender in 2016 is if McLovin can pair up another solid draft with a few key defensive free agent signings. Talent ain't cheap, and we still need it. I don't think the team has any intention of risking having to divert money away from what will likely be an active offseason for McLovin. I know it is hard to see #10 in street clothes, but I deal with it by envisioning the ways that I believe McLovin will use those resources.
5. Did anyone watch any football late last night? If you did, you are likely happy you did. How many weeks have Redskins fans been able to relish in the misery of both Dallas AND Philadelphia in recent years? In both cases, the Eagles and Cowboys were riding high in the fourth quarter, only to leave the field as losers. Frankly, that has been largely our experience, but in the NFL, there is very little room to sympathize with teams and for fans that have delighted in our demise. This isn't to say we are the better team...not yet. At 2-2, we still have no concrete idea what we are--at least in terms of true contention for any kind of title. The Dolphins loss looks worse and worse, while the Rams win seems to look better and better each week. The Giants game last Thursday...well, we know what that looked like, as we have seen it annually for quite some time. My optimistic nature has me thinking this team is close...but history simply weighs too much on my grading here. I love seeing Dallas and Philadelphia struggle early in the season, but the NFC East will be decided in December, not October. We still have a long way to go to arrive in December with something meaningful to play for, but that doesn't stop me from circling December 7 on my calendar!
6. If we were looking for things that should keep us from getting too far ahead of ourselves, look no farther than our next opponent. On the road in Atlanta, facing Julio Jones and...Kyle Shanahan, our defense is going to have its hands full. Make no mistake about it: the Falcons are SOLID. It is going to be a monstrous task for our defense, made even more so due to the injuries in our secondary. I think our offense should be able to enjoy some success, but it will really come down to what our defense is able to do. If we have to outscore a 40+ point-scoring Falcons offense, we might all agree that it could be a long Sunday. The keys to victory in that game are going to read a bit harsh: no personal fouls, no special teams mistakes, no drops (on offense or defense) and the pass rush MUST NOT fail to bring down Matt Ryan if they get into the backfield. It's like saying the pitcher is going to have to throw a no-hitter for us to be able to win. Luckily for us, we can employ the Scherzer Protocol!!